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Stores struggled with power failure
Getting back to business
Darle Main-Schneider, owner of Rising Sun Bakery in Martinsville, shows a refrigerated display case that normally is filled with deli items. She had to throw away everything in the case when the power failed last weekend, and only now is she getting it restocked. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Sunday, July 8, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
Area businesses are continuing to get back on their feet after last weekend’s storm knocked out electricity across the region.
Debbie’s One Stop Shop on Chatham Road in Henry County was without power for four days — when the storm hit on Friday night, June 29, through Tuesday afternoon.
The store opened Saturday, June 30, thanks to a generator that was hooked to the freezers and gas pumps, said store owner Debbie Hankins.
The store had no cold drinks and cooking could not be done in the grill portion of the store, but Hankins decided to open because she knew people living in the rural area where the store is located would need gas for their generators, she said.
Hankins could only run one or two freezers on the generator at a time. As a result, she couldn’t keep everything cold enough and lost all of the store’s ice cream and milk, some meat and some other frozen items, she said.
Inside the store while running the generator, “it was so hot, you couldn’t hardly breathe in here ... I couldn’t take it,” but she stayed open anyway so customers could get gas, Hankins said.
She doesn’t know how much money she lost due to the long power failure, she said. The store has since been restocked with milk and ice cream and sometime this week she will have restocked the other items, she added.
The Food Lion on Brookdale Street was without power from about 9:30 p.m. Friday, June 29, until about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 30. During that time, the store lost all of its refrigerated and frozen items, including ice cream, deli, dairy and meat, according to James Inman, store manager.
He did not know the dollar value of the items lost.
Food Lion stores have temperature guidelines, and during the power failure, temperatures rose above the guidelines. As a result, all of the items had to be discarded because “we’re very safety conscious,” he said.
“Unfortunately, our power didn’t come on fast enough” to save the items, he added.
The store reopened at noon Sunday, July 1.
On Thursday of last week, store employees still were restocking meat, frozen items and deli products. A shipment of ice cream came in late that afternoon to get the store back to normal, Inman said.
Going through the power failure “was pretty tough,” but Food Lion employees from other stores in the area helped get everything running as quickly as possible, Inman said.
His main concern throughout the ordeal was the store’s customers, he said. He hated not having the store open for them, but all of the customers have been returning since the store reopened, he added.
Losing power “was just a bad deal for everyone,” Inman said.
The Food Lion on A.L. Philpott Highway in the county never lost power. However, the storm did cause the computer system hooked to the cash registers to go down, which made checking out customers difficult during the weekend, said store manager Steve Guill.
Because the grocery stores in the city were closed due to the outage, business increased at the store on A.L. Philpott Highway. The store struggled to keep enough ice in stock during the increase in customers, Guill added.
Rising Sun Breads nearby on Brookdale Street also was without power until Saturday night, June 30, and lost all of its refrigerated and frozen items, according to owner Darla Main-Schneider.
About $1,500 worth of items were lost, she added.
The store stayed open during the power failure, and on that Saturday, employees sold baked goods and other salvageable items from the store outside, farmers market-style, Main-Schneider said.
On Sunday, July 1, employees cleaned out items from the refrigerator and freezer that were spoiled, and by Tuesday of last week, everything was restocked. On Wednesday and Thursday, employees baked fresh goods, which got Rising Sun back in full operation again, Main-Schneider said.
“It could have been a lot worse” because employees could have been injured or the store could have been damaged, she said. Because neither of those happened, “the rest is OK,” she added.
At Prillaman’s Market on Fayette Street, the power failure “completely shut me down,” said co-owner Barbara Shively.
The store was closed all day Saturday, June 30, which was the first time it has been closed on a day other than a major holiday, she said.
Shively said she was fortunate, however, that she didn’t lose any items other than some pre-cut meat and all the ice cream at the market. All of the meat and other food items in the store’s freezers were not harmed because no one opened a freezer door so the temperature stayed cold, she added.
Everything was restocked by Monday morning, July 2, Shively said. Since then, business has been booming, especially during the Fourth of July holiday, she added.
Shively’s goal was to “not have your doors locked longer than you have to” because the store has customers and restaurants to serve, she said.
“But I really did hate” having to close on a Saturday because that’s usually the store’s busiest day, she said. Between the items lost and the sales lost due to being closed, Shively estimated that the store lost about $4,000.
“We were just very blessed” that the store didn’t lose more, she said. “I was fortunate,” and she feels sorry for other businesses that were affected by the outage, she added.
Dixie Pig Barbecue on Memorial Boulevard also was forced to close Saturday, June 30, due to the lack of electricity. It reopened Sunday, July 1.
The restaurant had to throw away everything in its refrigerator and freezer, and it has since restocked, said owner Gary Frith.
Although Frith did not know how much money was lost, he did say that he would like to see more customers at the restaurant “to help us make up for the deficit that we lost.”